Album Review: Videoman is Out with the Old and In with the New

Digging Deep and Dismantling Old Personalities in their Newest Record

(left to right) Tom Fellows, Pasquale D’Alessio, Costa Kalafitidi and Mitch Findlay had originally formed over D’Alessio’s opera composition project. Courtesy Indoor Recess Inc.

Montreal-based indie-rock band Videoman approaches the concept of reincarnation in their newest record, A Kind of Serenity.

The band’s music is mostly serene with vocals that inspire feelings of loneliness and melancholy. The instrumentals in the songs, with glowy electric guitars and xylophones, are repetitive yet evocative, painting images in our minds that reflect what the lyrics are describing. It’s a feeling that’s familiar yet distant.

Before Videoman was formed, Pasquale D’Alessio, the vocalist, keyboardist and guitarist, had the idea of composing an opera.

“I was in the middle of writing an opera for Opéra de Montréal and I got together with my guitarist [Mitch Findlay] and asked him for some advice because he was a novelist,” D’Alessio explained.

Seeking help for composing the script of his opera inspired D’Alessio and Findlay to unleash their musical creativity together. Half of their sessions were dedicated to writing the script and the other half was the music itself. This eventually changed D’Alessio’s original plan, encouraging him to start a band.

D’Alessio reconnected with some of his former high school friends to record his compositions. The band structured their sessions in the spirit of a vintage setup by using equipment like pedal effects from the 1980s.

“It had morphed into writing an album and we went up north, mixed the guitars, and wrote the rest of the music,” D’Alessio explained proudly.

Each band member has different musical backgrounds, and therefore different musical inspirations. Bands such as Radiohead, Arcade Fire, The Nationals, and classical compositions of Beethoven are some of those inspirations.

Album cover for Videoman’s A Kind of Serenity. Courtesy Indoor Recess Inc.

The flow of A Kind of Serenity feels like storytelling, incorporating themes of getting a second chance by drowning one’s old self and changing their personality.

“I was always fascinated with the idea of death and the rebirth myth, and it’s fun to notice that,” D’Alessio said.

A Kind of Serenity, released Oct. 6, opens with the track called “Salt and Wine,” a bittersweet attempt at understanding the thoughts behind feeling betrayed by friends after ignoring the given signals about an intimate relationship bounding to crash at any moment.

“I swear lately all of my friends have been plotting my fall, but there is something complacent about it all,” D’Alessio softly sings about one’s fall, representing the first step for one changing their character.

The track “Fragments,” which has more of a dark sound, is based around the idea of desperately crying out for the presence of a loved one. The song has exaggerated weeping sounds when D’Alessio cries out the lyrics “such a fool that I am to think that I could’ve had it all.”

Videoman closes their record with “Requiem,” which focuses on the death of one’s self to make room for a new person altogether.

The symbolic nature behind “Requiem” is the experience of going through several metaphorical deaths before emerging as a completely changed person. One must learn the mistakes from their past in order to gain a second chance to be with their loved ones.

“The answer the character is given in “Requiem,” is that you gotta die first if you want your second chance,” D’Alessio said.

A Kind of Serenity englobes the story of overcoming a degrading of personalities. From letting the old self die to establish a new character. This may or may not be true, but the only way to find out is to let go.

Videoman // A Kind of Serenity